Fashionable Reads: Sense and Sensibility

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Well, it’s that time again! It’s the dawn of a new month (if you couldn’t tell…I’m excited), which means it’s time share another Fashionable Read!

This month, I am sharing with you a novel that is very close to my heart: Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility. I grew up watching the Emma Thompson movie adaption (a must-see) with my parents, and this summer finally got around to delving into the book. To say the least, it was everything I expected and a whole lot more.

Just to give you brief, non-spoiler overview of the plot: Mr. Henry Dashwood dies leaving an older, married son, John, a wife, and three younger, unmarried daughters: Elinor, Marianne, and Margaret. Because this is the early nineteenth century, he can only legally entail his fortune to his son, leaving virtually nothing of this wife and daughters. On his deathbed he implores John to provide for them in any way he can, and see to it that they are never left wanting for anything. Well, long story short, Mr. Dashwood dies and…let’s just say John talks to his wife and his sisters and stepmother are left with a less than what his father had in mind. The widowed Mrs. Dashwood and her daughters relocate to a cottage, whereabouts they are frequently in the company of their raucous cousin, Sir John, and his family. Both Elinor and Marianne find themselves star-crossed in love one more than one occasion, and the two sisters are confronted with the startling notion of what it really, truly is to love someone. To say the least, Sense and Sensibility is a not-so-cliché epic of love and loss.

What perhaps most surprised me about the book was the characters. Before reading Sense and Sensibility, I always imagined myself identifying with Elinor, the levelheaded older sister. As I began reading, however, I found myself more and more relating with Marianne. I think this is because of Marianne’s more emotional side, which I can certainly connect with, while Elinor is more stoic in the face of conflict. Either way, I finished this book truly sad to part with all of the characters, as by the end they all felt like old friends. But maybe that is what is so great about a book: no matter what, I can always go visit them again. All I have to do is turn the page.

To close, some favorite quotes and excerpts from Sense and Sensibility:

1: ” I wish as well as every body else to be perfectly happy; but like every body else it must be in my own way” – Edward Ferrars

2: “…they who suffer little may be proud and independent as they like – may resist insult, or return mortification – but I must feel – I must be wretched…” – Marianne Dashwood

3: ” If I could but know his heart, everything would become easy.” – Marianne Dashwood (what can I say? this girl just gets it)

4: ….and finally, a snippet from one of the last chapters, one the subject of the relationship between a man and a woman: “Between them no subject is finished, no communication is even made, till it has been made at least twenty times over.”

I sincerely wish that some of you will take the time to read Sense and Sensibility at some point in your life. It makes for a remarkable read, and opened my eyes to the complex meaning of love and relationships, both familial and romantic. For lack of anything more poetic to say, it left me changed for the better.

xx

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